This issue of the Journal of Swine Health and Production (JSHAP) is the 23rd issue since I have been Executive Editor. Time sure flies by quickly. One of the more challenging aspects of being the Executive Editor of JSHAP, in my opinion, is coming up with a topic for my message. Every time my editorial is due I find myself getting closer and closer to the due date before I even have a topic in mind. My motivation to be “on time” with my editorial has dwindled as the issues go by. Many important topics have already been discussed, sometimes more than once. Some topics are highly controversial and perhaps too much of a “hot topic” for a short message. This got me thinking about motivation in general, not just about my responsibilities as editor, but about motivation as it pertains to my everyday responsibilities. There are quite a few definitions of motivation but the one I appreciated the most I found in a veterinary dictionary: “the determination to pursue a course of action or achieve a specific target.”1 So, what motivates me to get my editorial done, and done on time? The answer to both of these questions, quite simply, is thinking of a topic that I believe will be meaningful (and hopefully motivational) to you. What motivates me to be an editor? This answer is also simple: the ability to play a role in bringing meaningful scientific literature to the swine veterinary profession.
What motivates you and what keeps you motivated when you need to complete a task such as writing medical records or farm reports in a timely manner, delivering sensitive medical news to clients (eg, their diagnostic laboratory report came back positive for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus), or even what motivates you to stick to your New Year’s resolution you may (or may not) have made this year?2 What motivates you to read JSHAP? What motivated you to become a veterinarian? What motivated you to become a swine veterinarian? What motivates you to continue to practice veterinary medicine? I did some more reading, and there are many theories behind motivation. One example is the incentive theory which suggests that people are motivated to do something because of an external reward: for example, monetary gain, or fame. Other psychologists have used different definitions of motivation and include behavioural factors such as whether someone’s motivation comes from within (intrinsic) or from outside (extrinsic). I wanted to be a veterinarian since I can remember. So, arguably, my motivation to become a veterinarian was intrinsic. My motivation to complete my message in time for publication is also intrinsic (personal desire to be on time), but also driven by extrinsic motivation – deadlines!
As veterinarians we often provide extrinsic motivation to our clients by way of advice and feedback. I think understanding what motivates swine producers will help us to do our jobs and hence be motivated in our jobs ourselves. Have you asked your clients lately what motivates them to do their jobs, or their other everyday responsibilities? Is it money, lifestyle, or the satisfaction of raising healthy pigs?
A specific behaviour that continues to keep me motivated in my job is my participation in continuing education. I am writing this message well in advance of the AASV Annual Meeting in New Orleans, an event I always find professionally motivational and that I plan on attending. Being the Executive Editor of JSHAP allows me to also keep motivated with my continuing education goals by allowing me to read and review the manuscripts submitted to the journal. I hope you find the manuscripts in this issue of JSHAP informative as well as motivational and that the information they contain help you to motivate your clients.
1. Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary. 2nd ed. Blood DC, Suddert VC, eds. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: WB Saunders Co. 2000:361.
2. O’Sullivan T. New Year’s resolutions [editorial]. J Swine Health Prod. 2016;24:7.